Baldridge, John Robert, Jr., Capt

Fallen
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Captain
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
1115A-Pilot
Last AFSC Group
Aircrew
Primary Unit
1969-1969, 504th Tactical Air Support Group
Service Years
1967 - 1969
Captain

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Tennessee
Tennessee
Year of Birth
1946
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Robert Bruce McClelland, Jr. to remember Baldridge, John Robert, Jr. (Butch), Capt.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Memphis, Tennessee
Last Address
Da Nang AB, South Vietnam

Casualty Date
Nov 20, 1969
 
Cause
Hostile, Died while Missing
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Laos
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Panel 16W Line 097

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 Unit Assignments
20th Tactical Air Support Squadron504th  Tactical Air Support Group
  1969-1969, 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron
  1969-1969, 504th Tactical Air Support Group
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1969-1969 Non-operation sorties/Reconnaissance missions over Laos
 Colleges Attended 
Texas A&M University
  1964-1968, Texas A&M University
 My Aircraft/Missiles
O-2 Skymaster  
  1969-1969, O-2 Skymaster
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
On 20 November 1969, Lt. Col. Walter A. Renelt, instructor pilot; and then 1st Lt. John R. Baldridge, Jr., pilot; comprised the crew of an O2A Skymaster, call sign "Lopez 11." Lt. Col. Renelt and 1st Lt. Baldridge departed DaNang Airbase at 1500 hours to conduct a single aircraft visual reconnaissance mission just west of the Lao/South Vietnamese border in a sector where communist forces were frequently known to be operating. Since John Baldridge was fairly new in-country, a secondary mission for Lopez 11 was to acquaint him with their area of operation. Their flight path was to take them from DaNang to the target and back to DaNang. . .

At approximately 1652 hours, an Air Force Forward Air Controller (FAC) operating in the same area heard a transmission from Lopez 11 stating they had been struck by ground fire and that an escort back to base was required. The FAC acknowledged Walter Renelt's radio call. He then contacted the airborne command and control aircraft in command of all operations in the mission sector to request search and rescue (SAR) aircraft to immediately be dispatched in case their services were needed. . .

The FAC proceeded to the coordinates provided by Lt. Col. Renelt. When he arrived on site, he easily found the Skymaster's wreckage with smoke rising from it. The FAC made several low passes over the crash site in an attempt to detect signs of movement, but found none. Likewise, he found no trace of either Walter Renelt or John Baldridge in or around the Skymaster's wreckage. The location of loss was just over the Lao/South Vietnamese border in an area laced with multiple arteries of the Ho Chi Minh Trail approximately 2 miles northeast of Peta Doc, Xekong Province, Laos. It was also 15 miles west-southwest of Kham Duc, a major US base in western Quang Tin Province; 62 miles southwest of DaNang and 76 miles due west of Chu Lai, South Vietnam. By the time a Marine FAC later arrived on the scene, the weather conditions deteriorated to a broken cloud cover with bases at 4,000 feet, rain showers and visibility of 4 miles. . .

The Marine FAC also made several low passes over the aircraft wreckage. Likewise, he found no sign of survivors in or around the area. Neither Forward Air Controller heard any emergency radio beepers or voice transmissions from Lt. Col. Renelt or 1st Lt. Baldridge. Further, no one saw deployed parachutes on the ground. Later the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron determined neither pilot had a parachute onboard the aircraft. A SAR helicopter arrived on site a short time later. In spite of the deteriorating weather, the pilot attempted to put a pararescueman (PJ) into the crash site, but the attempt was cancelled due to rapidly approaching darkness. The following morning further attempts were made by SAR personnel to investigate the crash site. . .

However, as the helicopters approached the Skymaster's wreckage, they came under direct enemy ground fire taking hits from small arms fire and possible .50 caliber machine gun fire from a nearby ridge. Daily attempts to reenter the target area were prevented by adverse weather and hostile ground fire. These efforts continued for 10 days without success.

Finally formal search operations were terminated on 28 November 1969 and Walter Renelt and John Baldridge were declared Missing in Action at that time. . .
His body was not recovered; he is memorialized in Memorial Section H in Arlington.
   
Comments/Citation
Not Specified
   
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